ENG20490 Romanticism

Academic Year 2021/2022

Please be aware that modules may move online if directed to do so by Government advice.

This course will introduce students to the Romantic period of literature, which falls approximately between the French Revolution (1789) and the ascent of Victoria to the British throne (1837). The Romantic period was one of peculiar eventfulness. Great changes and possibilities opened with the fall of the Bourbons in France, only to give way to suspicion and paranoia with the advent of the French Terror and the Napoleonic wars. As the increasingly conservative Edmund Burke wrote in his Reflections on the Revolution, 'everything seems out of nature in this strange chaos of levity and ferocity, and of all sorts of crimes jumbled together with all sorts of follies.' This was a period full of tumult and excitement, something that makes itself felt in much of the texts that we will read. Romantic writers are still among the best-known today, and include writers such as William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley. In addition to the more famous poets and novelists, we will explore the writings of relatively new additions to the Romantic canon, including both male and female writers. We will also consider a variety of genres from the Gothic novel to the nature poem. Common concepts, ideas and themes cross textual boundaries in this period, and we will be examining how both radical and conservative writers dealt with the great changes that this period saw.

PLEASE NOTE that the School of English, Drama and Film reserves the right to withdraw modules in the period up to and including the first week of the teaching trimester.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

1. Have an understanding of the many types of literature of the period.
2. Have a knowledge of key Romantic writers.
3. Have a knowledge of lesser-known poets and novelists of the period.
4. Appreciate the political and historical circumstances of the period, and how writers responded to social and political changes in their texts by attending lectures and workshops, and by reading a wide range of peer-reviewed secondary material.
5. Use literary analysis to write critically about literature of this period.

Indicative Module Content:

Literary analysis
Cultural contexts
Critical reading

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Small Group


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
In-class discussion
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
ENG20020 - Eighteenth-Century Literature, ENG20590 - Romanticism (EVENING)

Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: End of term exam. 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Graded No


Assignment: 1,400 words analysis (mid-semester) Unspecified n/a Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback for essays will be posted on Brightspace. Students are also welcome to meet their tutor for more detailed feedback.

The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume D (10th edition)
Ann Radcliffe, A Sicilian Romance (Oxford World's Classics)
Mary Shelley, The Last Man (Oxford World's Classics)